IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Shrinking Goods and Sticky Prices: Theory and Evidence

  • Avichai Snir


    (Bar-Ilan University and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

  • Daniel Levy


    (Department of Economics, Bar Ilan University and RCEA)

If producers have more information than consumers about goods’ attributes, then they may use non-price (rather than price) adjustment mechanisms and, consequently, the market may reach a new equilibrium even if prices remain sticky. We study a situation where producers adjust the quantity (per package) rather than the price in response to changes in market conditions. Although consumers should be indifferent between equivalent changes in goods' prices and quantities, empirical evidence suggests that consumers often respond differently to price changes and equivalent quantity changes. We offer a possible explanation for this puzzle by constructing and empirically testing a model in which consumers incur cognitive costs when processing goods’ price and quantity information. The model is based on evidence from cognitive psychology and explains consumers’ decision whether or not to process goods’ price and quantity information. Our findings explain why producers sometimes adjust goods’ prices and sometimes goods’ quantities. In addition, they predict variability in price adjustment costs over time and across economic conditions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: Working paper
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2011-03.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2011-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Faculty of Social Sciences, Bar Ilan University 52900 Ramat-Gan
Phone: Phone: +972-3-5318345
Fax: +972-3-7384034
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Martin Eichenbaum & Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "Reference Prices, Costs, and Nominal Rigidities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 234-62, February.
  2. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2008. "Temporary Price Changes and the Real Effects of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 14392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Leahy & Andrew Caplin, 2004. "The Absentminded Consumer," 2004 Meeting Papers 784, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Daniel Levy & Georg Müller & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2002. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Working Papers 2002-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  5. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  6. Carlton, Dennis W, 1977. "Uncertainty, Production Lags, and Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 244-49, February.
  7. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2005. "Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000480, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. David Laibson, 2001. "A Cue-Theory Of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 81-119, February.
  9. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2010. "Imperfect Information and Aggregate Supply," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 5, pages 183-229 Elsevier.
  10. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540, May.
  11. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
  12. Ricardo Reis, 2009. "Optimal Monetary Policy Rules in an Estimated Sticky-Information Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-28, July.
  13. Levy, Daniel & Lee, Dongwon & Chen, Haipeng (Allan) & Kauffman, Robert & Bergen, Mark, 2007. "Price Points and Price Rigidity," MPRA Paper 1472, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Etienne Gagnon, 2007. "Price setting during low and high inflation: evidence from Mexico," International Finance Discussion Papers 896, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2006. "Sticky Information in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 12605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Daniel Levy & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Sourav Ray & Mark Bergen, 2007. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment in the Small," Kiel Working Papers 1356, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  17. Michael Ehrmann, 2011. "Inflation Developments and Perceptions after the Euro Cash Changeover," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 33-58, 02.
  18. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "Monetary Policy for Inattentive Economies," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1997, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  19. Marc Vanhuele & X. Drèze, 2002. "Measuring the Price Knowledge Shoppers Bring to the Store," Post-Print hal-00457563, HAL.
  20. Carlton, Dennis W., 1989. "The theory and the facts of how markets clear: Is industrial organization valuable for understanding macroeconomics?," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 909-946 Elsevier.
  21. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
  22. Mark Armstrong & Yongmin Chen, 2009. "Inattentive Consumers and Product Quality," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 411-422, 04-05.
  23. Peter J. Klenow & Jonathan L. Willis, 2006. "Sticky information and sticky prices," Research Working Paper RWP 06-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  24. Edward S. Knotek II, 2008. "Convenient prices and price rigidity: cross-sectional evidence," Research Working Paper RWP 08-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  25. Edward S. Knotek II, 2006. "A tale of two rigidities: sticky prices in a sticky-information environment," Research Working Paper RWP 06-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  26. Swan, Peter L, 1970. "Market Structure and Technological Progress: The Influence of Monopoly on Product Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 627-38, November.
  27. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  28. Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 133-141, Winter.
  29. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
  30. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  31. Carlton, Dennis W, 1991. "The Theory of Allocation and Its Implications for Marketing and Industrial Structure: Why Rationing Is Efficient," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 231-62, October.
  32. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2003. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 15-37, March.
  33. Raajpoot, Nusser A. & Sharma, Arun & Chebat, Jean-Charles, 2008. "The role of gender and work status in shopping center patronage," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(8), pages 825-833, August.
  34. Peter J. Klenow & Benjamin A. Malin, 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," NBER Working Papers 15826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Josef Falkinger, 2008. "Limited Attention as a Scarce Resource in Information-Rich Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1596-1620, October.
  36. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing And The General Equilibrium Dynamics Of Money And Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690, May.
  37. Dennis W. Carlton, 1991. "The Theory of Allocation and Its Implications for Marketing and Industrial Structure," NBER Working Papers 3786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Gurumurthy Kalyanaram & Russell S. Winer, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations from Reference Price Research," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages G161-G169.
  39. Konieczny, Jerzy D, 1993. "Variable Price Adjustment Costs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 488-98, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2011-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Department of Economics)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.